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    Tuesday, July 29, 2008

    Reading Comprehension

    Sometime back, I wrote both of my state Senators about S. 2433, the Global Poverty Act of 2007. I was obviously opposed to it. Today I received a response:

    Thank you for sharing your support for reducing world poverty. I appreciate your thoughts on this important issue.

    The issue of global poverty has become highly visible because of rapidly increasing world food prices. In poor countries all over the world, the price of food has increased so much that many people cannot afford to feed their families. The lack of affordable food has directly caused political unrest and violence in some countries.

    Like you, I believe we as a nation need to do more to assist the world's poor and these countries. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have worked to ensure that U.S. assistance dollars are used to promote America's political, economic, and humanitarian interests. Although U.S. development programs have helped countless people throughout the world over the past several decades, there is still room for improvement.

    As a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, I take funding issues for foreign aid very seriously, and I am currently working with my colleagues to include food aid in the fiscal year (FY) 2008 Emergency Supplemental spending bill. An important tool for providing countries with poverty aid is the Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. Last year, this bill was included in the FY 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2764), which was passed into law. The bill included $35 billion for the State Department and foreign operations. A third of this total was dedicated to development and humanitarian assistance. Additionally, $1.319 billion went to food aid programs and $298 million was allocated to providing safe water programs for the world's poor. As the Appropriations Committee takes up the FY09 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, I will keep your thoughts in mind.

    Additionally, another tool to combat global poverty is by promoting microcredit lending programs. Microcredit programs, which provide loans under $300, are an excellent foreign assistance investment for the United States as well as for countries receiving funds. In the FY 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress appropriated $245 million for microfinance and microenterprise development programs for the poor, especially women. This is a $20 million increase over FY 2007 funding. Please know that I will continue to work to see that microcredit programs receive appropriate levels of funding and will keep your thoughts on this issue in mind.

    Finally, I am a cosponsor of S. 2433, the Global Poverty Act of 2007, which was introduced by Senator Barack Obama (D-IL). This bill would direct the President and the Secretary of State to come up with and execute a comprehensive plan to reduce extreme global poverty in half by 2015. The bill encourages the President to utilize the tools of direct financial aid, trade policy, and debt relief to reach this goal. Additionally, the legislation calls for coordination between the U.S. government and the international community, including businesses and non-governmental organizations. Some people have expressed their concern to me that this bill would mandate unrealistically high payments by the United States to international organizations. However, this bill does not contain such a mandate. This bill would simply require the Administration to come up with a strategy to honor the goals and principles of American foreign assistance. S. 2433 was reported from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and I look forward to consideration by the full Senate.

    Again, thank you for keeping me updated on the issues that are important to you. As the Senate considers issues of global poverty, please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind.

    I hope all is well in Vancouver.


    What she doesn't mention is that the sharp rise in food prices is fairly directly attributable to Congress' ethanol subsidies.

    My response:

    Senator,

    You must not have actually read my previous email. I DO NOT support your bill. I utterly oppose it. It IS NOT the responsibility of American taxpayers to reduce poverty around the world (that is largely caused by failed socialist ideologies and tribalism.)

    I participate in PRIVATE micro-lending organizations, and PRIVATE charities. I invest in emerging markets and PRIVATE industry, because these are effective institutions that actually accomplish things.

    Leave my paycheck alone. I'm tired of inept politicians squandering my hard work and risks. I can direct my own money towards causes of importance to me far better than you ever will.

    Additionally, the role of congress is to pass laws and budgets, and "encouraging" the President is outside your mandate. There is a seperation of powers for a reason and the executive's foreign policies are not yours to control. Such "Sense of the Senate" resolutions are a waste of time and my taxes. If you want to do something which would receive my approval, then form a committee to review and revoke outdated and failed legislation. Propose that all new laws have sunset provisions. Realize that government maybe a necessary *evil* but it is still not productive. The best thing you could do as a Sentor is to be obstructionist to the legislative process.

    Tuesday, July 01, 2008

    Best laid plans

    I've been defeated by bureacracy. Getting the visa for India in London is overly complicated if you're not a UK resident, so I'm changing horses in midstrwam. I'll be home late tonight.